“…always was, always will be, the land of Kashmiris”
Conquest by Abrogation:
The acts of the Indian government in flooding Kashmir with its troops is a coercive measure meant to control, manipulate and subjugate the terrified people of Kashmir. In the days leading up to the abrogation of Article 370, the Indian government transformed Kashmir into a landscape of fear. News of an impending terror attack from across the border were floated to the pliant media; followed by a declaration of curfew and censorship. The build-up of terror reached a crescendo when the Amarnath pilgrimage was canceled – triggering an exodus from Kashmir and paving way for the conquest by abrogation.
Terrorism for Change:
Terrorism does not necessarily involve the infliction of death or physical harm. Instead, the key role in terror-doing is to incite alarm and panic within the targeted groups, through the creation of an atmosphere of fear within the civilian populations. In doing so, the overall objective remains deceptively archaic – to control, manipulate or change the behaviour of a terrified group towards subjugation.
Terrorism. By the state. For the people.
Abrogation of article 370 is tantamount to stretching the tight, taut skin of the Indian nation over Jammu and Kashmir. The people’s right to self-determination is snuffed out by an act of parliament riding roughshod over Kashmiri sovereignty. Through these enactments, the law has been weaponised and aimed at a target of conquest and assimilation of territory. The people of Kashmir – its dead, its living dead trudging along with pellet-injured eyes, its disappeared, and its unmarked graves – are evidence of resistance against the Kautilyan matsyanyaya. The concept of matsyaynaya was used in a systematic way by Kautilya and subsequent Hindu lawgivers of ancient India. The concept denotes the stronger rules over the weak. The rule of the jungle prevails. It is an equivalent of the saying ‘Might is Right. ’This tyranny conceptualized by Brahminical philosopher-priests was enforced through the ages of the so called ‘glorious past’. (God as Political Philosopher, by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd: publisher SAGE / Samya) A stealthy proclamation by the majority, this conquest of Kashmir at the hands of the oligarchs regurgitates the cud of our history. “The Aryans conquered the original populations not by valour but by deceit and manipulation, by usurping others’ rights, subjugating the peace-loving and rendering the self-sufficient people indigents and slaves.” Today, the abrogation of Article 370 has erected the largest open-air prison through acts of executive tyranny.
Lines of Conflict:
The promise of development for the Kashmiri people has to be viewed against the moribund background of ghettofication, minority beneficiaries earmarked as lynching targets and second class citizens. In actuality, this promise serves as a gambit to slice Kashmir open for the circling buzzards of Indian oligarchs, settlers, international investors, and finance capitalists. Between Kashmiri natives and the investor settlers, a new zone of conflict is demarcated – justifying constant law and order (not justice) issues, enforced by the majority-operated state security apparatus. Emboldened by a majority, the settlers thrive on conquest consciousness, while the Kashmiri natives, standing on their collective inheritance, resolutely uphold a distinct sovereignty.
The statutory invasion by the majoritarian on behalf of the oligarchs, pitted against the resistance of the natives, gives rise to structures of conquest justifying a praxis in the name of combating terror. This practice spreads fear across the landscape of Kashmir, across the nation itself. It heralds a season of terror to subjugate the stubborn and subdued nationalities simmering in anger against the thin patina of Indian nationalism.
Death by Development:
The declaration by the Prime Minister that “Article 370 abrogation will usher in development in Kashmir” is a thinly-veiled reflection of a colonizer’s claimed entitlement to Kashmiri (Native) territory. As an unabridged expression of the dominant class’ special interest – it reasons that abrogation (Indian assimilation) presages development by increasing the profitable utilization of Kashmiri land. Raymond Williams argued that the hegemony can be viewed as an “expression of the interests of a ruling class” but also stressed “its acceptance as ‘normal reality’ or ‘common sense’ by those in practice subordinated to it.” (Jack D Forbes, Columbus and other Cannibals, Seven Stories Press) The Prime Minister’s promise betrays the special interests of the Indian oligarchs who modeled his image as the “hrideya samrat,” (king of hearts) and “vikas purush.” (person of development). This is a work of hypnotism which stupefies the people (36% of the electorate) and keeps them subjugated under the thumb of a Sultan. Inevitably, the bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir will lead to violence that will spill over into the rest of India, reviving the dormant and latent sovereignties of the British colonial era. Violence triggered as a mode of resistance to stop the policy pendulum swinging in favour of the oligarchs and their wealth accumulation
Vinod Kumar Edachery lives and works in Dubai with a strategic advisory firm.